Pac-12 Conference Football: What We Learned in Week 9

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Pac-12 Conference Football: What We Learned in Week 9
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UCLA hired Jim Mora as head coach in December 2011 with designs to return the Bruins to national prominence—and quickly. 

UCLA's progress is evident, but Mora said emphatically in his postgame press conference that the Bruins aren't yet where he wants them, per UCLABruins.com

"We didn't come up here to play them close. We didn't come up here to give it the old college try. We came up here to win the game and we didn't get it done, and it's disappointing. I told the guys we played hard, but playing hard is not enough."

Last year's nine wins were UCLA's most since 2005, and its No. 9 ranking last week was the program's best since the same season. 

Nevertheless, Mora wants the Bruins competing for the Pac-12 championship. Saturday's loss threatens UCLA's defense of its South Division title, as Arizona State now moves into sole possession of the top spot. 

The Sun Devils were idle in Week 9. The teams meet Nov. 23 in the Rose Bowl. 

 

A Fond Farewell to Don James

Legendary Washington head coach Don James, who died last week at age 80, received a fitting tribute Saturday night at Husky Stadium.

The Washington faithful said farewell to The Dawgfather with the below video, now posted to GoHuskies.com

James was Washington's head coach from 1975-1992, in that time building the program into a national powerhouse. The pinnacle of his 153-57-2 tenure was his undefeated 1991 team, which won a share of the national championship. 

James coincidentally split that title with his alma mater, Miami. 

 

Meet T.J. Daniel 

No one will ever say an Oregon Ducks linebacker without a tackle on the season is on par with the Pac-12 and maybe the nation's best defensive player, Anthony Barr. 

But Oregon scout team linebacker T.J. Daniel's best Anthony Barr impression was central to the Ducks game plan in Saturday's 42-14 win. 

"The MVP of this game, the unsung MVP of this game is T.J. Daniel, our scout team outside linebacker that singularly did our Anthony Barr last week," head coach Mark Helfrich said per GoDucks.com. "That guy made us better and just obviously pleased with where we are."

Oregon was as well prepared as any opponent has been for Barr this season—and he still made two sacks and forced a fumble. 

 

Bishop Sankey Bounces Back

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After Arizona State stifled Washington en route to a 53-24 blowout last week, Huskies head coach Steve Sarkisian said in his weekly teleconference call that his team had to do some "soul searching." 

Junior running back Bishop Sankey led the response in resounding fashion. He bounced back from a season-low 22-yard performance against the Sun Devils last week to roll off a career-high 241 yards—188 of which came in the first half against Cal. The Huskies won 41-17.

Sankey relinquished his lead as the nation's leading rusher after the Arizona State loss, but Saturday's effort puts him back at No. 3 in yards per game—and second for total yards, behind only Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews.

 

A Low-Key History-Making Performance from Arizona

Arizona junior running back Ka'Deem Carey was well short of his Pac-12 record 366 yards rushing, a mark he set last season against Colorado—though his four touchdowns were close to last season's five. 

While Carey may not have flirted with making history against the Buffaloes a second time, he was integral to Arizona setting a team record, as the Arizona Daily Star staff noted.  

Quarterback B.J. Denker continued his tear, which began in the second half against USC on Oct. 10. He passed for 265 yards and rushed for another 192.  

Considering its last two outings against Colorado, there may be no bigger proponent of its addition to the conference than Arizona. 

 

Oregon's Fake Punt Was So Good, It Faked Some Ducks, Too

Oregonian reporter Andrew Greif had an outstanding tidbit from Oregon's defeat of UCLA: The fake punt that set up the Ducks' first score was so covert, some of Oregon's own personnel didn't know it was coming. 

That includes offensive coordinator Scott Frost, Greif reports. 

 

Stanford Packs A Sacked Lunch

Oregon State's tradition of dining on In-N-Out hamburgers after a road win is well known. Stanford didn't bring any to Corvallis, Ore., but the Cardinal did feed Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion a steady diet of sacks. 

Cardinal defenders got to the nation's leading passer eight times. 

"There were a few times where I needed to get the ball out faster, that's for sure," Mannion said in the postgame press conference, per OSUBeavers.com. "It's just the kind of thing where we need to be better at beating pressure."

Stanford's backfield presence is all the more impressive given veteran defensive end Ben Gardner was pulled with an arm injury. 

Linebacker Shayne Skov offered a simple solution for the Cardinal defense addressing injuries. 

"If your name gets called, it’s time for you to step up," he said. 

 

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